Grow Your Own – GYO and the new challenges

I am sure you have heard about the huge drive to Grow Your Own skills. As it continues however, the challenges are changing. A large proportion of the campaign has been on encouraging employers to embrace this ethos and develop staff within the organisation through training and development. Now the challenge has shifted from developing skills to RETAINING those with the best skills in your organisation.

There are two linked key factors that are creating challenges for the industry, briefly outlined as follows;

Reluctance to Invest

The recession change businesses in many ways; it didn’t just impact them financially but it also led to the most skilled and experienced staff taking advantage of the situation and leaving businesses. Very often, they had been trained and investment had been put into them in order to give them the skills they had, very often making them more attractive as a prospect in the job market. Subsequently, there are wounds that need healing before business owners and employers are reluctant to invest in future people development. This is particularly so in construction where head hunting and skill shortages result in trained people being poached or lured by more attractive jobs.

More Opportunities

As the economy improves, job openings and opportunities increase and even the most loyal of heads will be turned by new and exciting prospects. People with higher levels of qualifications and formalised skills development are in short supply and can demand a premium in terms of salary as well as fringe benefits.

The conundrum for the employer is that this in itself creates a reluctance for business owners and employers to invest money into training staff who might leave the organisation.This perceived risk has an adverse effect as people are less satisfied in a position where there is no career development. The irony is that they are more likely to have their heads turned by pastures new in this situation.


These factors highlight the challenge that employers face; if they invest in skills development that benefit both the businesses and the employee, it may have a negative impact on their own business if the employees they have trained leave the business and maybe even go to a competitor. The problem is that by not investing in staff development reduces employee satisfaction, morale and commitment making it more likely that they will look for alternative jobs anyway. Seemingly, this poses a no win situation for employees.

Strategies to address these challenges need to focus on increasing staff loyalty. It is no longer enough to only train staff and employers need a holistic and proactive approach to staff retention and loyalty. Staff retention strategies need to be formalised and implemented to ensure the best skills and knowledge are kept in the business for effective growth and progression in a dynamic marketplace.

I would love your input on my survey to understand how you are developing people in your business: